Leicestershire pub the Forge is one of the first on-trade businesses to benefit from a support package launched by Budweiser Budvar UK designed to help operators as they reopen into the ‘new normal’ of post-lockdown trading.

As staff at the pub, located in Glenfield, near Leicester, prepared to reopen, they were paid a visit by the Budvan, Budvar’s new highly visible promotional vehicle. Bringing ‘Greetings From the Republic of Beer’, the Budvan delivered free kegs of premium lager Budweiser Budvar Original to help the Forge entice its customers to return.

The Forge is part of the three-strong Beautiful Pubs Collective, which operates independent pubs with the emphasis on high quality food, drink and customer service. Sam Hagger, director of Beautiful Pubs, said: “Forecasting customer demand, based on factors such as seasonal trading, the weather and sporting events has always been a tough art for operators to perfect, but post-lockdown we’re reopening into the complete unknown.

“In our first few days of trading we’ve already seen a strong demand for premium, authentic products such as Budweiser Budvar. Drinks wholesalers are still cautious about filling their warehouses with beer, so some products have been in limited supply, which makes our direct relationship with Budvar even more helpful.”

Beautiful Pubs has stocked Budweiser Budvar Original on draught as its ‘house pour’ premium lager for three years. “I was blown away by the quality when I first tried draught Budvar,” says Sam. “Learning more about the authentic brewing convinced me, and I delisted our previous premium lager. Fortunately, guests shared my love for the beer; it’s a fantastic product served in quality glassware with a great ‘talkabout’ story, and we’ve seen volumes go from strength to strength.

“The Budvar UK team are great ambassadors for the British pub, always ready to support operators when needed, and coming out of lockdown has been no exception. From site quality control visits to team training and much appreciated stock support to help us begin to rebuild our volumes and sales, they’ve been right there for us.”

Simon George, managing director of Budweiser Budvar UK said: “We were delighted to help the team at the Forge with their reopening, as one of a number of customers whose loyalty we’re repaying with post-lockdown support.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for nursing the on-trade back to health, but whether it’s staff training, technical support to ensure that consumers are served a perfect pint, or just some free stock to get the tills ringing again, we’re helping where we can.

“It was also great to get our brand-new Budvan out on the road. It can operate as mobile bar, a delivery vehicle, a training centre for bar staff and as a way to tell the story of our unique beer, brewed only in the town of ?eské Bud?jovice.”

CAPTION TO ACCOMPANYING IMAGE: Sam Hagger (left), director Beautiful Pubs, and Jamie Lilleyman, Budweiser Budvar regional account manager, unload the Budvan at The Forge.